Everyone knows the hits: "Mony Mony," "I Think We're Alone Now," "Crimson and Clover," "Crystal Blue Persuasion." They are nuggets of rock and pop history. However, few know the unlikely story of how these hits came to be. Tommy James had been performing in rock bands in the Michigan area since the age of 12. Prompted to record a few songs by a local disc jockey in 1964, Tommy chose an obscurity titled "Hanky Panky," which became a minor local hit that came and went. Then, in 1966, the record was rediscovered by a Pittsburgh DJ who started playing it on heavy rotation, prompting a tremendous response. Soon every record mogul in New York was pursuing Tommy and the band. Then an even odder thing happened: every offer except one disappeared, and Tommy found himself in the office of Morris Levy at Roulette Records, where he was handed a pen and ominously promised "one helluva ride." Morris Levy, the legendary "godfather" of the music business, needed a hit, and "Hanky Panky" would be his. The song went to number one; Tommy went on to do much more; and Levy continued to reign.
Me, the Mob, and the Music tells the intimate story of the complex and sometimes terrifying relationship between the bright-eyed, sweet-faced blonde musician from the heartland and the big, bombastic, brutal bully from the Bronx, who hustled, cheated, and swindled his way to the top of the music industry. It is also the story of this swaggering, wildly creative era of rock 'n' roll---when the hits kept coming and payola and the strong arm tactics of the mob were the norm---and what it was like, for better or worse, to be in the middle of it.
©2010 Tommy James (P)2010 Tantor
I played Tommy James music as a DJ in the 60's. Who knew? I enjoyed the ride and, for me, this was a page-turner. I like Tommy's sincerity and directness. He does not "bad-mouth" anyone, and is open about his mistakes. A great listen for those interested in the music business - especially from this era.
Yes - it's a great look at part of the history of pop music that isn't often talked about and I read and listen to lots of music books.
Tommy Jame's openness to talking about his success and his failures was very refreashing.
His reference to how he treated those in his personal life vs. his career.
I would if I had the time. Great book, very interesting to find out how the industry was in those days.
Tommy James. It appears that he was very talented and that his talent was stiffeld because of drugs and his relationship to Morse.
I DID NOT READ THE PRINT VERSION.
INVESTIGATING MANY OF THE SIDE CHARACTERS MENTIONED IN THE BOOK.
THERE WERE MANY, BUT I LIKED THE SCENES THAT REVIELED THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE MEMORIBLE SONGS FROM THE 60'S.
YES AND I ALMOST DID.
THE INSITE INTO THE EARLY WORLD OF THE RECORD LABLE INDUSTRY WAS FOR ME FASINATING.
lost in the mystic
Morris Levy, Roulette Records, My Baby Does the Hanky Panky? What an incredible (and sometimes scary) ride down Memory Lane. We all know of sex, drugs and rock'n'roll. What we rarely consider is the greed, corruption and manipulation who managed the money. Tommy James tells an incredible tale, entertaining, evocative and thought-provoking. If you love rock and his music (or even if you love only one of them), this is highly recommended
As a baby boomer, I found this a very interesting read. I'm not so sure those much younger than I am would appreciate it in the same way. Tommy James and the Shandells were a pretty hot group in the '60s and '70s. Learning about the history of this group, and all of the trials Tommy James went through and put himself through was very interesting to me. I got a little sick of the obscene language there for a while, but the book has a redeeming value when Tommy has to check himself into the Betty Ford Clinic for drug and alcohol addiction. Although I have never used drugs or alcohol, I know enough about the 12 step program that saves so many lives to know that you cannot get well without accepting God, whatever you understand Him to be. Tommy finally had to come to that realization, and was able to get his life back on track. It is a happy ending to a sordid story.
The narrator, David Colacci, did a great job. He is easy to listen to, and had a grasp of the many different characters. I just felt bad for him having to drop the F bomb so many times. I felt bad for myself having to listen to it . . . I know I could have turned it off, but it was really mainly in one part near the end of the book during a huge argument. I lived through it.
Life is Love is Life
The whole book kept my attention! All their music stands the test of time and is being re-discovered now by younger people today. An era gone by it brings back all the memories of the turbulent 60's and how this music set the touch tone for rock and roll today.
All of it! Probably the most touching was at the end when Morris passed away.
It all came full circle for Tommy and how he is a survivor too! So many like him ended up in the 27 club he knew personally.
No but excellent narration for this book
Tommy James a Survivor and Trailblazer of Psychedelic Rock
If you know this music get this you will not be sorry!
and if you have never listened to Tommy James and The Shondells get their music!
Tommy James is possibly the only person who may like this book
This is just a collection of bullet points and Tommy James telling us how great he is despite revealing that he basically intimidated and stole from the song writers who gave him his hits.
He talks more about a random woman he met than his son and contradicts himself atleast a 100 times..garbage.
I will never enjoy Crimson and Clover again...
This is a good book. The best thing is you will learn Rock N Roll History that you can't find in other books.
Well Read and is an enjoyble listen.
Or should I say re-lived it, the era.
Wish there had been more of Tommy's music to orient the listener to his references. I was aware of his talent vocally, not at all aware of his music producing, writing abilities until listening to this---hence, would have enjoyed hearing some of it, too.
His portrayal of Morris Levy, the legend, is scary, fascinating, and objective....perhaps too objective, as he
is the most interesting, complex person in the book---what about a bio of him by Martin Fitzpatrick as a sequel?
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